1965-05-08 - Not A Mad Scientist Bro
Summary: Clint wanders into Elmo's shop looking for parts. The two get a moment to bond without realizing their common thread.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
elmo clint 


It's a lovely spring day in May, and Elmo is parked behind the counter of Rosario's Housewares. The old man isn't in; something about his kid is going to graduate college. So the place is all Elmo's today. He's taking advantage by dozing, tipped back in his chair, boots on the counter. There are dark circles around his closed eyes, and even though he's meticulously put together as always, there's an air of general exhaustion to him. Everything else in the shop is scrupulously clean and organized and repaired to within an inch of its life.


What a perfect day to be lazy. The temptation to lock the front door and post up a 'back in :15' without a reference time posted. It's exactly that sort of fantastic lull that screams 'someone really unlucky or stupid please interrupt me'.

Clint Barton walks through the front door of Rosario's Housewares with one hand shoved into his pocket, elbow hanging loose at his side while he looks around, clearly a little lost or at least unfamiliar with the tidy shop. In his usual 'uniform' of a loose tee shirt and jeans, he pushes up the mirrored sunglasses off his face and into his hair while he speculatively looks around the front space.


Elmo stirs with a groan when the bell jingles. That temptation to yell 'we're closed!' is very, very strong, but he tips forward and rejoins the living, chair and boots landing on the floor at the same time with a thunk. "Yeah, pal, whaddaya need?" he says, before actually getting a look at Clint. Then he gets a look at Clint and—gevalt, those arms. Those shoulders! He blinks. Covers for it by rubbing his eyes. Nope, he didn't do a doubletake at all those muscles, that didn't happen.


Those arms. Those shoulders. Yeah, the attempt to actually look relaxed in a loose tee shirt rather than something painted on isn't doing a whole lot to hide the levels of definition he's carrying around there, but it at least doesn't look super ostentatious. He's dressed for relaxation, not peacocking around.

Pivoting around when Elmo lurches forward in his chair, Clint's attention lands flat on the young man, staring directly at him for a beat; dark blue like the sea just before the storm, and damn if he can't just about strip Elmo for spare parts with a quick glance up and down. Well-well-well. Lookit this. Nice. Bite-sized.

Leaning into his steps, Clint strolled forward slowly, ticking a finger back and forth around the shop. "Hey, Uh, you just repair stuff here, or do you sell parts and provisions? I'm trying to hunt down a few things."


Elmo blinks again. Getting the once-over with such thoroughness? Unexpected. A little alarming. He gropes after the line of conversation. What are we talking about again? "I sell some other stuff." 'I', not the shop. Not here. Just him. "Whatcha got in mind?" He leans on the counter, arms folded.


It's like that eyeball grope never even happened, the practiced casual demeanor Clint adopts the next moment seems sincere. Clint clicks a tongue against his back molars, jutting his chin upwards at Elmo while he nears the counter. "I like you better already, pal. I'm looking for some pretty specific pieces of electronics." Palms press into his side of the counter and Clint leans onto them, letting the defined cuts in his arms deepen slightly. A bandage ducks from beneath the hem of one sleave. Gauze that seems to wrap entirely around his bicep before it vanishes from view. "I do some tinkering. Small pressure sensors, lead-free solder, casing material—you know, just odds and ends."


Elmo doesn't back up, even though a shift of his weight suggests he really wants to. This is his shop, his counter. He stays put, even with all those pretty muscles of Clint's. "Easy," he says, promptly. "Use 'em all the time myself. Whatcha planning on?"


Clint leans back slightly when Elmo tenses, pushing himself off the counter with a marginal gesture of his arms outward, hands flicking to either side. Giving Elmo space and making it effortless in a gesture as he looks around the shop again, giving Elmo his claim. "Then you're my guy, cool. The last three hardware shops's idea of lightweight casing might as well have been candy foil wrapping." He quirks half a crooked smile. "Eh, some home projects. I'm working on something small and pressure sensitive with a brittle outer casing strong enough that it won't crumple unless met with proper force to trigger the load. And in a small space, so the wiring has to be thin and insulated—I know, it sounds like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it to."


Elmo's eyebrows go up, and his entire demeanor changes. From slightly defensive with weight back and arms folded to excited. Now he's the one leaning towards Clint, eager to get into it. "You're gonna want somethin' with a high tin mix. Wiring, I got a line on that kind, but… I guess it depends on how many parts you wanna trigger and how you wanna do the casing. How small we talkin' here? Deck of cards?"


Paydirt. Elmo seems to actually understand what he's talking about in the most rudimentary case so maybe he's got some hope here. Wincing, Clint scratches behind one of his ears, eyes darting away briefly before shooting back to Elmo. "Eh, smaller, ideally." He holds his fingers up to signify the size. "I'm thinking more like the size of a chapstick or lady's lipstick tube. At its largest." What the hell is this guy doing?


Elmo's actually impressed with Clint's ambition; those eyebrows stay up. "That's real, REAL small. Okay. Yeah, I can see how you want insulation. Lemme think." He frowns to himself. "How much of it do you need? I might need to custom make it." Now he can custom make impossibly small wiring? "What kinda weight do you wanna keep it under? What…exactly are you doin', if you don't mind me asking?" He's a lot more alert than he was five minutes ago, watching Clint with clear black eyes.


"Not usually a phrase I hear," Clint makes a dick joke because of course he does. "But yeah, it is. I played around with the idea of making the casing something non-conductive and then carving a small groove in the inside to solder the wiring into the channel as an inlay." Explaining casually his former attempts. "But the crumple zone being the whole damn thing kind of ruins the circuit, you know?" Arms that would make more sense on someone who rows crew for a living fold loosely over Clint's chest while he squares off with Elmo. What kind of fucking geek is this guy?

The question on how much weight he could deal with is given a squint in speculation, tilting his head mildly back and forth, doing calculations in his head. "Ssssix? Six ounces approximately. I could deal with more, but eh, that's the math on it idealy." Clint wiggles a bit on that answer, leaving flexibility. "The 'what' is sort of hard to explain."


"Uh," Elmo says, and huffs in part amusement and part astonishment, almost grinning. Some guy walks into his shop, gives him the eye, makes a dick joke, and starts talking about conductivity. It throws him off and he doesn't even ask what the hell Clint is smashing something into, or with. "Yeah. Yeah, I know how it is, I can't explain the stuff I build either." He pulls out scrap paper from under the counter and starts writing on it rapidly, working through some math. "You want one fancy lipstick tube, fella. On the bright side, you won't need that much of this wiring, and lucky you, 'cause if you want it, it's gonna cost ya."


Clint leans over the counter again when Elmo starts taking notes down, watching his hands work quickly over the paper. The math involved. His dry response to his fancy lipstick tube is a quick, "What can I say? I'm a fancy dame. Yeah, most of the wiring is simple, but the weight of the wire is the annoying part. You ever try to solder hairs together?" An arch of one blond eyebrow, his eyes jump up and down from Elmo's face to the page rapidly while he follows.

A mellow chuckle, one hand lifts and gestures lightly toward Elmo. "I can do the work myself, man, I'm just looking for materials. This ain't a fabrication job. But I can pay for it. I know that this stuff isn't easy to come across, and my current mode of getting it is, uh, not sustainable." Another scratch to the back of one ear. Definitely not something he's supposed to be doing, whatever it is.

"But if you're serious..here. This might help." Clint holds up a finger and reaches into his back pocket to pull outI shit you nota paper towel. Unfolding it a few times, he lays the absorbant sheet down flat and smooths it out. It looks like a paper towel, but on it is a bunch of sketchwork, math, and diagraming. It's a blueprint. A blueprint for… …? Well it sort of looks like a large chapstick tube. Yep, pressure sensor on one end and inside it looks like it's designed to have a hollow space inside.


Elmo gives Clint an honestly amused look, "Yeah, I just mean the materials—" but then the paper towel is coming out and he laughs. It's a with-you-not-at-you kind of laugh. He might actually be charmed by the paper towel blueprint. Leaning over it, holding it down with one hand, he takes a look. "Okay. I get it. You know what would really do the trick? A circuit board. You could tuck it in the back here, where it ain't gonna get smashed. Never seen one that small, though." Now he's closer to Clint without thinking about it, focused on the idea. "You really would have to draw the circuit with a hair."


Clint knows how it looks. He's well aware of it, and seems completely secure when throwing down a piece of paper towel. A knowing glance passed over the counter to Elmo, that rakish smile appears again. "Can't help when inspiration strikes, right?" Excusing his choice of unusual medium.

Elmo leans in over the towel and Clint makes room, placing his hand down flat on the counter off to one side. "Yeah, I thought about that, too." Nodding while they muse on the possibility of a circuit board. "My hand's pretty steady, honestly. But I don't have the most experience with circuit boards. I've altered my fair share, but drawing one from scratch is an animal of a different color."


Elmo glances up and meets that rakish smile with one of his own. Bonding over being big nerds. "Can't help it." He straightens up and drums his long calloused fingers on the counter. "Never drawn one fresh, either. Why bother, right, when there's a million of 'em in the junkyard just beggin' to get used? Pain in the tuchus—but it might be your best option." He shrugs, elaborately, turning his hands palms-up. "All I got for you is more questions, huh?"


"Yeah, exactly," Clint agrees effortlessly, rolling down onto his elbow on the counter with one finger curled over his lower lip while the rest prop his chin up and he wiggles back and forth on his legs. "Altering what you need is usually easy enough, but you might be right. Tuchuses aside." Clint squints at his paper towel sketch. "Eh, they're good questions. I've been stubbing my toes on this one for a hot minute, so getting fresh eyes on it isn't the worst idea. I got a guy I can bring this to, but he's going to be a pain in the ass when I gotta admit I can't get this one on my own. S'cuse me—" Clint holds out a hand to retcon his own words and correct himself. "He'll ba a pain in the tuchus." Smartass.


Elmo grants Clint a lopsided, sardonic expression. "Yeah, yeah. I can get you the supplies, at least. And…now I wanna try it. Drawing you a circuit board. I know I can do it, but can I do it small enough and light enough?" He's practically glowing with the challenge. "I don't usually build so small, but, now I wanna try."


Stormy blue eyes flicker back and forth between Elmo and the odd page, seeming to rest on his lips a couple seconds in between while he cracks a smile. "You're bored a lot, aren't ya, man? Hey, if I can give you a challenge, I'm happy to do it." Shoving up to his full height again, Clint reaches out a hand. "Clint. What do I call ya?"


Elmo shrugs again, wry this time. "Find myself workin' mostly on things that ain't exactly what I dream about. But they gotta be done. Important stuff, yannow? Just not inspiring." He flicks a gesture at the housewares shop. "Nice to meet ya, Clint. I'm Elmo." Clint offers his hand and Elmo folds his arms. "I…I don't like touchin'. Sorry," he says, a little embarrassed with himself. Enough to be compelled to apologize.


The hand hangs out there a beat or two after Elmo denies the handshake, which seems to slightly put Clint off, or leave him at an impasse. Pulling his hand back, there's a look at his own palm. He shrugs and 'fixes' the moment by clapping his hands, fingers pointed up though, like a self-high-five. "Cool. Good to meet ya, Elmo." The problem fixed, he's good again and returns his attention to the clerk, then squints. "Elmo? Really? Eh, huh. I sorta expected…never mind. Not important." He expected something more, yaknow, Jewish. But he waves it away. "I get it. We all gotta do what we do. So what's the deal? Do I owe ya half now or something? Give you my number?"


"It's not you," Elmo says, wincing when Clint checks his hand. "I'm just, stupid that way." So awkward! Not like when he was discussing materials and technology. "Yeah, your number—that's…yeah, that's fine. Uh, just for business. Not anything else." He closes his eyes for a second, aghast. "I shouldn'ta said that. Forget it."


"You don't gotta explain it, man," Clint shakes his head with honest dismissiveness rather than anything coming close to sympathy. "People got their own things." and it's as simple as that. It's the second part that makes his mouth quirk again, knowing. "You sure I should forget it?" He leaves a long pause between, then gives the same dismissive angle for a shrug. "Okay." Gesturing writing with a pen. "How do you want it?"


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